The Ethics of GPS Tracking of Elderly People with Dementia Living at Home: A Fused Capability Approach to the Patient’s Freedom of Movement, Privacy, and Safety
Vos, F. de
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Wandering behaviour is common among people with dementia. For elderly people with dementia living at home, freedom (of movement), privacy, and safety may be at stake because of this. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) tracking is a surveillance technology that can be used to assist dementia patients and their environment in coping with wandering. But GPS tracking raises ethical concerns. Where the current debate could be further developed regarding the patient perspective, this thesis shows how freedom of movement can be put central in our ethical analysis to contribute to this. Using the ‘Fused Capability Approach’ regarding the patient’s freedom of movement, the thesis shows how GPS tracking as a solution to wandering behaviour of elderly people with dementia living at home can be justified to a certain extent, if this happens under a number of interdisciplinarily composed conditions that find a balance between the patient's freedom (of movement), privacy, and safety as part of an ethical triangle, on a case-by-case basis. It is important to deepen this understanding of the patient perspective and explore how it relates to the interests of the other stakeholders with regard to the central theme, in order to get the best out of GPS technology for elderly people with dementia living at home and their environment.